The men’s tennis team can’t wait to get into the thick of the upcoming season. The ‘Canes are ranked No. 35 in the polls to start the season and hope they will climb higher as the season continues.
The team got off to a great start this past Sunday by defeating No. 38 Southern Methodist. Head Coach Brian Getz couldn’t have been happier with the team’s performance.
“It was a huge win for us,” Getz said. “We talked about how the first match was going to hopefully set the tone for the rest of the season and all of the guys were very well prepared, both physically and mentally.”The team is coming off several successful seasons. They have made the NCAA Tournament for seven straight years and return four players from last season’s 13-8 team.
Although the team is ranked highly to start the season, there is a noticeable difference from last year’s roster.
“There is a huge void because we lost Todd [Widom], but instead of looking at it as a negative, the guys have looked at it as a challenge,” Getz said. “Someone’s going to have to step up.”
The Hurricanes would love to be able to hold on to the title of “Big East Champion” for another year, and Getz believes they have what it takes.
“Our goal is to win the Big East title,” Getz said. “Anything less than that would be disappointing for us because we feel we have the talent to do it.”
Miami has a relatively young squad as they return four sophomores this season, in addition to freshman Josh Cohen, who has risen to No. 1 singles in his first season as a ‘Cane.
The sophomores include Eric Hechtman, John Hoyes, Colin Purcell, Tim Krebs, Jeremiah Fuller, and P.J. Passalacqua.
The tennis season is long and grueling, and it may come as a shock to a freshman like Cohen.
“I try to prepare him as much as I can; physically, I’m getting him ready,” Getz said. “But with tennis being as individual as it is, you need to take care of your own out there mentally, as our four freshmen did last year.”
One of the pitfalls of last season was that the team couldn’t stay healthy. There was always someone injured, but this season already has a different feel, as the team is healthy and ready to go.
Opening against a ranked Southern Methodist squad gave Miami a taste of how competitive this season will be. There are many matches that stick out on the schedule that the players and coaches might get up for more so than others. The ‘Canes will play the current No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country this year.
“Anytime we play Florida State it’s a big match, for obvious reasons,” Getz said. “We play No. 1 Illinois and No. 2 Florida, but in addition we would love to leave a bad taste in Notre Dame’s mouth as we leave the Big East.”
The ‘Canes will also get a glimpse of their future, as they will face off against four ACC foes. Getz hopes that they can set a tone as they move from the Big East to the ACC after this season.
“We end our season with four of the last five matches against ACC schools, and those are huge for us not just for this year, but to set the tone for next year and the years to come,” Getz said.
The Hurricanes return to action on Friday, Jan. 30, as they host FAU at 6 p.m. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Doug Kroll can be contacted at email@example.com.